CCCS Announces Next President for Community College of Denver

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Dr. Marielena DeSanctis will begin new role January 2021.

Following a nationwide search, Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Chancellor Joe Garcia today announced Dr. Marielena DeSanctis as the next president of Community College of Denver (CCD).

Dr. DeSanctis, a distinguished scholar who has led academic, equity, and innovation programs in various roles, brings demonstrated leadership and commitment to advancing access to higher education, increasing student success, and closing equity gaps.

Dr. DeSanctis will officially begin her term as president of CCD on January 15, 2021. She will succeed Dr. Everette Freeman, who is retiring December 31 after seven years of service.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. DeSanctis and are confident that she will provide the right energy, expertise, and collaborative leadership for CCD,” said Garcia. “With six years of experience as an engineer for a top manufacturing company and over 22 years as a leader in education, Dr. DeSanctis exemplifies deep understanding of issues facing students and higher education, a bold vision for the future, and the executive experience to manage the intersection of sustaining financial health and innovation.”

The search team worked diligently over several months to screen, interview, and conduct community forums – which were open to staff, faculty, students, and the public – in order to identify those most suited to be considered for the role of president.

“The search committee and I express our appreciation to those who participated in the presidential search process, which resulted in a field of strong candidates and allowed us to make an outstanding choice for the institution’s new leader,” said Garcia.

We are excited to welcome Dr. DeSanctis and are confident that she will provide the right energy, expertise, and collaborative leadership for CCD.
- Chancellor Joe Garcia
Currently, Dr. DeSanctis serves as the Provost and Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Student Services at Broward College, a Hispanic-Serving Institution in Florida.

During her tenure, she guided the institution through research-based best practices that significantly improved outcomes between Pell and non-Pell eligible students and cut in half the gap between passing courses for Black and White students; implemented a new college readiness and enrollment program in partnership with the local school district focused on supporting schools with high rates of racial/ethnic minorities and Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility; stewarded shared governance principles and practices; and successfully advocated for large grants and gifts, including ten TRIO grants, a Gates Foundation grant, and a public-private partnership that yielded a multi-million-dollar revenue stream for the college.

Dr. DeSanctis expressed her eagerness to start working with CCD’s dedicated and talented faculty and staff on behalf of the institution’s hard-working students, as well as immersing herself in the Denver community.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected by the Chancellor to take on this important role for both the college and the surrounding community,” said Dr. DeSanctis. “With over 50 years of rich history, CCD is an incredibly strong and vibrant institution, and it will have an enormous impact on the future of the city and state. The CCD community has done a lot in recent years to prepare for the next chapter and I am excited to become a part of this transformative work.”

Dr. DeSanctis and her husband, Lance, look forward to joining the Denver community and Community College of Denver family.


About Community College of Denver

Community College of Denver (CCD) is a leading point of entry to higher education for the city and county of Denver. CCD provides cost-effective, high-quality college education, along with access and opportunity for non-traditional students, workforce development, training resources for local organizations, and community partnerships. CCD is a federally funded Hispanic-Serving Institution. Learn more at

About Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 40 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college.

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